At Ecodunia, we are committed to creating products that are sustainable. Our bags are hand made from 100% organic cotton. Even our packaging is recycled and handmade. A small company on the west side of Nairobi uses 100% recycled paper and then hand cuts, glues, folds and prints the packaging for our bags. We want to have the smallest carbon footprint possible.
And yes, even in our shipping we have found a way to be as responsible as possible in our shipping. We work with another local company that takes our boxes for shipping to the US and waits for a plane that has cargo space available. First, this allows us to ship more affordably and secondly, it means that we are not adding to the number of flights from Kenya to the US.
When the plane is just hours from take-off, they let us know that they have space available. And then our products go on a plane that was going anyway with extra space. It’s a little like hitchhiking for our products.
But there’s a catch to our commitment to being as sustainable as we can.
For our last shipment, we debated if we should wrap all of our boxes in plastic so that, in the event that they got wet, they would be protected. But we are committed to reducing waste and not using plastics, so after deliberation, we decided against it.
As fate would have it, the boxes were left in the rain on one step along the way and hundreds of dollars of product and recycled packaging was ruined. Even worse, we had customers depending on that product being delivered and now we are held up in a challenging situation.
For a small start-up, a social enterprise like Ecodunia, this was a very hard blow. We are not in a position to absorb these kinds of losses, and yet - we are also committed to our principles. It’s in the hardest times that our beliefs are tested.
So, while we remain committed to the founding ideals of our company, we would be remiss not to recognize that even some bad things, like plastic bags, have some very good and redeeming qualities. Plastic bags are great. Unfortunately, with that great comes to other costs. And even more unfortunate, without the plastic, we still sometimes end up with the waste we are so committed to eradicating.